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Easy Italian Butter Cookies (12 kinds – same dough!)

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Let’s talk about Italian butter cookies. What’s there to say apart from that they are so easy and so much fun to make.

You only need 4 basic ingredients and some yummy decorations and you can make a whole bunch of these incredible butter biscuits.

Kids would love to make them too. So if you are looking for a recipe that is kid-friendly, look no further. 🙂

How to make Italian Butter Cookies

I love these cookies for their simplicity. You have to follow some very simple rules and they will come out perfectly!

  1. Make sure that the butter is at the perfect temperature. Straight out the fridge or melted would not work for these cookies. 15-20 min at room temperature is perfect.
  2. Don’t work out the dough too much.
  3. Don’t forget the add a pinch of salt!
  4. Let the dough rest in the fridge before you cut your cookies.

That’s it!

This Italian butter biscuit recipe is popular for its versatility. You can swap the decorations and you can create a whole new cookie.

You can make the Italian butter cookies dipped in chocolate and then covered with coconut shavings or almonds flakes. Or you can just dip them in the chocolates and leave them as is.

Do the chocolate decorations or swap the milk chocolate with the dark one to change the intensity of the flavor.

Or you can prepare other dips like pistachios, walnuts, sprinkles, small m&m’s, colorful cornflakes. Think about anything that would stick to a hot chocolate and stay once it cools down.

Italian shortbread cookies with jam have typically apricot jam, but you can also play around with raspberry, peach or plum jam. Each of them will add that special touch to the simple cookie.

Yesterday I did these decoration combinations:

  • Chocolate moons with only chocolate, chocolate + coconut shavings and chocolate + almonds
  • White moons with only chocolate, chocolate + coconut shavings and chocolate + almonds
  • I did the same with hearts and stars (which I didn’t make many pics)
  • Flowers – chocolate with Nutella and white ones with peach jam

You have asked:

Is it OK to use melted butter instead of softened?

When making the cookies the butter needs to be softened, but not liquid.

Softened butter is essential to have a good smooth dough. If the butter is too hard (straight out of the fridge) you have difficulty working it. There is a possibility that your dough would get a bit lumpy with visible smaller chunks of butter.

Remember that butter should not be too soft ether or melted. The ideal would be to leave it outside of the fridge on a room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

You can’t make shortbread pastry with melted butter. You would get a greasy lump of ingredients without being able to create the dough.

What happens if you put less butter in cookies?

There is a rule that to have good butter cookies you need to add a minimum of 50% and a maximum of 80% of butter.

If you go below these minimum values, the dough will lose friability, while rising above the maximum threshold, it will be too greasy and will tend to crumble after baking.

In other words with less butter in cookies, they will become a bit harder.

What happens if you make cookies with cold butter?

It’s better to work with colder butter then with a melted one. Colder butter will create better shortbread dough.

Why are my butter cookies hard?

If your cookies are hard that could mean one of the several things:

  • you bake them for too long
  • too high temperature (static and ventilated ovens don’t bake the same)
  • check your flour choice
  • lack of butter

Does butter make cookies soft or crispy?

Butter makes cookies crispy. Actually the sugar also plays a big role in making the cookies crispy as well as the cooling the dough before you role it out to cut the cookies.

If you want to have soft chewy cookies use honey or brown sugar instead of a regular white one.

Did you make these Easy Italian butter cookies?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #slavi_italian_kitchen_stories

Easy Italian Butter Cookies (12 kinds – same dough!)

Yields 40- 50 cookies (depends how thin you roll them)

You will love these Italian Butter Cookies. So delicate and so tasty. Every bite is a feast with these delicious biscuits. I love how creative you can we with their decoration. You can literally make them look new by changing the decorations on them.

60 minPrep Time

12 minCook Time

1 hr, 12 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 250 grams (8.82 oz) of butter
  • 350 grams (12 oz) of flour
  • 130 grams (4.6 oz) of sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 table spoons of cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 table spoons of coconut shavings (for decoration)
  • 2 table spoons of sliced almonds (for decoration)
  • 1 table spoon of powdered sugar (for decoration)
  • 3 table spoons of jam (apricot, peach, raspberry) (for decoration)
  • 3 table spoons of Nutella or some other chocolate spread (for decoration)
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) of chocolate


  1. Take out of the fridge eggs and butter and let them rest on a room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. Cut the butter in cubes and place it in your kitchen robot (if you don't have one, no worries you can do it by hand too) and add sugar. Mix it well together.
  3. Once the butter and sugar have mixed add egg yolks and continue to mix.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and flour. Do it in 2-3 times allowing the butter to absorb it easily.
  5. Now that the dough in nice and solid divide it in 2 equal portions.
  6. Add 2-3 table spoons of cocoa or chocolate powder and mix it into the dough. The dough will gradually change the color absorbing the powder.
  7. Wrap both doughs in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for at least and hour (30 min is the minimum). If you are in hurry you can put it into freezer.
  8. The catch with the shortbread type of butter cookies is that you work them as fast as possible with the least time in your hands.
  9. Prepare your baking trays in advance and use cookie cutters to cut them fast.
  10. Remember to dip your cutter in flour before cutting the dough. That would prevent cookie dough sticking to your cookie cutter.
  11. Bake them 10-12 minutes on 170 C (340 F)
  12. Decorate as you wish. They are delicious only with sprinkled powdered sugar too.


soy free
seafood free
sesame free
mustard free



13249 cal


825 g


1239 g


222 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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